Funko-Mtal Carpet Ride
1990 ON ATCO
Conny Bloom - Lead vocals, guitar and sitar
Franco Santunione - Guitars and backing vocals
Andy Christell - Bass and backing vocals
Niclas Sigevall - Drums
Knowing I had a penchant for heavy rock, TLO took away my key to the drinks cabinet in the Green Room and sent me off to review an album I had never heard of.
Yeah, yeah it seems odd to review a sixteen year old album but there are a couple reasons to re-assess it. One, Conny Bloom the lead vocals/guitar from the Electric Boys moved to “Hanoi Rocks”, a band that has seen quite a few changes over the years, and two, there is now talk of the Electric Boys reforming after a ten year split. “Okay” I said, “don’t nag.” So off I went and bought the said album.
Their second (which is the same as the first) album, Funko-Metal Carpet Ride
The only track I had ever heard previously of the Electric Boys was ‘All Hips N’ Lips’, which appeared on their first album, and I have to say I really liked it but it left me with the opinion that the band had it’s roots very definately planted in ‘Heavy Metal’ soil. The sound, the structure and sentiment of the song fit snugly into the heavy rock genre without anything sagging round the top of the tin, I soon realised this was not the case. Conny Bloom, who was the main strength on the unit described them as ‘Funk-Metal’ and I’m always dubious of bands that try to slot themselves between 'types' to try and invent a name for their own style of music but I truly think that this Swedish band couldn’t be called either heavy or funk and this description albeit ambiguous fits the music well.
One quiet dark winter night I sat in darkness (that’s a room completely devoid of light and not a crap ‘nouveux’ rock band that can’t hold a candle to Spinal Tap!) and gave the album my all, and I had mixed feelings I have to say. The first track ‘Psychedelic Eyes’ kicks off and straight away other bands come straight to mind. One obvious similarity is from a band I never liked – Guns and Roses and yet the overall style and sound is more reminiscent of an excellent Japanese band that were around in the 90’s called ‘Loudness’. After a couple of plays this track imprints itself into your synapses then suddenly it ends and cuts into a ‘Sitar’ which introduces the only track of theirs I had previously heard. ‘All Lips N’ Hips’. Though an excellent song it bears more than a passing resemblance to ‘Aerosmiths’, “Walk this Way”, not my favourite Aerosmith track, yet this for me is the best song on the album and I defy anyone to put this on in their car and keep to the speed limit. The third offering changes the mood ironically titled, ‘The Change’. It’s in a quieter mood using running bass lines to give the song it’s strength though there are some good guitar riffs in there too.
Conny Bloom during his solo career.
At this point in the album I began to listen to the production which I found was wanting. It then occurred to me that this album although the second, was a re-hash of the original Swedish version, and it shows. Looking for the credits of the studio I saw it was recorded and mixed at Little Mountain Studios - Canada. Polygram I assume just re-mastered the album prior to release. I then decided to find tracks off their other two albums from the internet to compare with but to my surprise they were similar in sound, with a ‘mushy’ feel and lack of clarity to the vocal tracks. It seems that this ‘flat’ sound was intentional, or engineered by deaf people.
The following tracks, ‘If I Had A Car’, ‘Captain of My Soul’ and ‘Rags To Riches’ follow the funk theme more closely, the latter being quite infectious. The seventh track once again slows the album down and is so ordinary as to be lost and I was glad when ‘Electrified’ returned to the funk feel. This track has a slightly better production too but there is still something ‘missing’ from the overall sound.
Track 9 “Who Are You?” was four minutes of my life wasted and ought to have been called “What Is This?” and track 10 again sounds like Aerosmith to the degree I had to wonder if I was going to bother with the final song. I did and found that it was just 1 minute 34 seconds long, and I have no idea why this odd ‘Into the Woods’ was bolted on the end of the album.
Not the best name for a band but a great logo.
All in all the album is okay and after listening through their later offerings it is in my opinion the best of the bunch and worth slipping into your collection if only for ‘All Hips N’ Lips’. I doubt whether it is worth the money to spend further though as there are many bands around that do this style of music much better and I have to wonder if the “neither solid rock nor true funk” feel to the album caused a lack of committed fans when they were new. This I suspect is why they split after just three albums and I would be surprised if the Electric Boys actually do reform, as it is doubtful if this type of album would sell any better in the mid 2000’s than it did in the mid 90’s.
For me, they would have to throw out more songs in the style of ‘All Hips N’ Lips’ to make me force my hand in my pocket a second time but saying that, it’s worth a listen.
Right, “Can I have the keys to the cupboard back now?”